Question about Max Stirner

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Thunk
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Feb 16 2009 23:56
Question about Max Stirner

So from the bit I've red about Max Stirner, the egoist, he believes all notions of rights are "spooks" of the mind, and that natural rights don't exist. Simply put, everything must be obtained by force...

...confused. Why does that count as anarchism? If justice is determined by force, then is he not just arguing for fascism, essentially? I mean, it seems like a pretty stark contrast to all Bakunin's stuff.

I haven't read up on him too much, I'll admit, but every time I do I get confused about why he is even considered anti-authoritarian. It sounds like he's just some kind of nihilist or something, hardly like he is against hierarchy, etc.

tigersiskillers
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Feb 17 2009 00:42

As history (and the infoshop forum) shows anarchism means different things to different people. I don't know too much about him, but he was definitely an influence on the individualist anarchist current - people like Tucker and to a degree Emma Goldman (she was also fond of Nietzsche).

I'm not sure about the force thing, I've not heard that directly - he thought a 'union of egoists' - freely entered into relationships between sovereign individuals - would be the form of organisation that replaced the state without society descending into a Hobbesian war of all against all.

Remember that pro-capitalists like Murray Rothbard can appropriate the term anarchist. At least Stirner was against private property and wage labour even if the individualist current is to me fairly lamentable...

Thunk
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Feb 17 2009 01:31

Right but Rothbard is an outright capitalist.

On the other hand, nobody seems to question whether or not Stirner is part of the anarchist tradition.

His philosophy seems anarchistic to some extent, but the whole force thing throws me off.

The danger of it meaning different things to different people is that it eventually becomes meaningless.

Zazaban
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Feb 17 2009 04:51

Anarchopedia explains it pretty well.

http://eng.anarchopedia.org/Max_Stirner#Philosophy

I'm pretty much a fanboy of his, so if you have any questions just throw them over to me. I'll be glad to answer.

I think what is means by justice being determined by force essentially means that in practice those with the most power generally get to decide what 'justice' means. Like the state, for example. Also, anarchy would not be able to exist unless the majority decided to dismantle the state, thus a revolution could be said to be determining justice 'by force.'

I'm fairly certain something or other was lost in translation, as this seems to happen an absurd amount of times when going from german to english. Could be wrong.

tsi
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Feb 17 2009 05:42
Thunk wrote:

On the other hand, nobody seems to question whether or not Stirner is part of the anarchist tradition.

I think that the notion of broad theoretical "anarchist tradition" as such is where the confusion comes from. Some people are tempted to basically lump together a bunch of theorists who were opposed to the state and label it an "anarchist tradition"; In this sense I guess it is basically not questioned that Stirner is part of the "anarchist tradition".

However, if we are talking about the historical anarchist movement which is itself grounded in the workers' movement, then I think it's pretty clear that Stirner is probably of little to no significance at best. He did influence the odd theorist that played a role within this historical current, but I think the vast majority of "anarchists" in this sense are not terribly interested in his ideas.

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Ed
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Feb 17 2009 08:44
tsi wrote:
Thunk wrote:

On the other hand, nobody seems to question whether or not Stirner is part of the anarchist tradition.

I think that the notion of broad theoretical "anarchist tradition" as such is where the confusion comes from. Some people are tempted to basically lump together a bunch of theorists who were opposed to the state and label it an "anarchist tradition"; In this sense I guess it is basically not questioned that Stirner is part of the "anarchist tradition".

However, if we are talking about the historical anarchist movement which is itself grounded in the workers' movement, then I think it's pretty clear that Stirner is probably of little to no significance at best. He did influence the odd theorist that played a role within this historical current, but I think the vast majority of "anarchists" in this sense are not terribly interested in his ideas.

I'd say I basically agree with tsi on this one, I wouldn't consider Stirner an anarchist, anymore then I would Nietszche. Maybe has the odd interesting philosophical point but if I remember Stirner well, it seemed like social Darwinist 'superman' stuff with the odd bit about how these 'supermen' should unite in a 'union of egoists'..

Hmm, I had some notes on this a while ago, I'll try and fish them out..

Anarcho
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Feb 17 2009 09:18
tigersiskillers wrote:
Remember that pro-capitalists like Murray Rothbard can appropriate the term anarchist.

Yes, he did try -- and anarchists have resisted that appropriation! Unfortunately, you cannot stop people calling themselves what they like or their ideology oxymoronic labels like "anarcho"-capitalism! It even happens with "Marxism" ("National Bolshevism", anyone?). All you can do is explain why it is not anarchism and why a better term is "propertarian" rather than libertarian.

tigersiskillers wrote:
At least Stirner was against private property and wage labour even if the individualist current is to me fairly lamentable...

Stirner is an interesting writer, and he obviously enjoyed himself greatly writing The Ego And Its Own. Without Stirner, well, the development of Marxism would have taken a different turn... Anyway, is anyone is interested there is a section on Stirner in An Anarchist FAQ.

Hungry56
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Feb 17 2009 14:31
Anarcho wrote:
Without Stirner, well, the development of Marxism would have taken a different turn...

Do you mean he had a positive influence on Marxism, that some Marxists were influenced by his ideas, or that he had a negative influence-a repulsive effect -Marx moved in a different direction to Stirner in opposition to his ideas?

Dave B
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Feb 17 2009 19:09

I think a considerable proportion of Marx’s and Engel’s German Ideology was devoted to the ideas of Stirner, referred to in it as Saint Max and Sancho.

Engels discussed Stirner in; Letter from Engels to Marx, in Paris, 19 November 1844

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/letters/44_11_19.htm

In my opinion both Stirner and Nietzsche were philosophical shit stirrers and devils advocates, and quite good ones at that, drawing out the logical implications of what others were saying and raising questions by making outrageous assertions.

There is a decent chapter on 'Stirner and Marx' in Sidney Hook’s From Hegel to Marx.

And some interesting stuff at;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Stirner

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waslax
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Feb 18 2009 10:21

Marx wrote even more on Stirner in The Holy Family (subtitled "A Critique of Critical Criticism" iirc). One reason the young Marx wrote so much on Stirner was that both were leading "Young Hegelians" a few years previously, and Stirner was clearly very clever, and not just interested in philosophical, but also in political questions. An important radicalization and theoretical deepening was occurring in Germany in the early and mid 1840s, and Marx and Stirner were at the forefront of this trend. Stirner's influence on Marx was largely negative, however. Marx found him a useful foil for developing his own views, just as he did with Proudhon a few years later in The Poverty of Philosophy.

Anarcho
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Feb 18 2009 11:30
Hungry56 wrote:
Anarcho wrote:
Without Stirner, well, the development of Marxism would have taken a different turn...

Do you mean he had a positive influence on Marxism, that some Marxists were influenced by his ideas, or that he had a negative influence-a repulsive effect -Marx moved in a different direction to Stirner in opposition to his ideas?

No, that Marx had to rethink a lot of his ideas after reading Stirner. Some of this is explored in the Holy Family, although he distorts Stirner's arguments along the way (which he also did with Proudhon and Bakunin). After Stirner, he justified communism in different ways -- perhaps this is the root of his attempted "scientific" justification of communism (the rising socialisation of property) rather than a humanistic/ethical position?

Suffice to say, Stirner had more impact on Marx(ism) than Anarchism, at least until the 1890s when he was rediscovered. Bakunin, for example, mentioned him once (and that was in passing -- although, Engels seemed keen to present Bakunin as being inspired by Stirner). Proudhon seemed to be unaware of Stirner.

And to end on an aside, I remember a Leninist who was planning to come to a talk on Stirner at an Anarchist summer school back in the early 1990s. Bobby Lynn, an old syndicalist from the 1940s who took Stirner's "Union of Egos" seriously as a union, was giving it. The Leninist in question proudly said that he was going to read The Holy Family to prepare for it. He was genuinely shocked when I asked him if he was going to read Stirner first -- the thought had never crossed his mind! Which, I think, says it all...

Anarcho
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Feb 18 2009 11:33
waslax wrote:
Stirner's influence on Marx was largely negative, however. Marx found him a useful foil for developing his own views, just as he did with Proudhon a few years later in The Poverty of Philosophy.

You have to realise, though, that neither book can be classed as being particularly accurate in presenting the ideas of Proudhon or Stirner. The Holy Family is full of personal attacks and just plain distortion. Simply put, Marx was interested in destroying those he considered rivals -- so his works should be taken with a large pinch of salt.

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Felix Frost
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Feb 18 2009 14:50

The idea that Stirner had a major influence on Marx is explained in quite some detail here: http://www.nonserviam.com/magazine

The whole thing is pretty speculative, though, and rests on some debatable premises, such as there being a major break between the early Marx of the philosophical-economical manuscripts and the later scientific Marx, which supposedly was provoced by him reading Stirner.

Boris Badenov
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Feb 18 2009 15:07

Stirner never called himself an anarchist, so there's no reason to call him one. The Ego and its Own contains plenty of criticism against Proudhon actually, as well as against communists, humanists, etc. He was a bit of an enfant terrible, and although some have argued he was an influence on Nietzsche, he himself never achieved that kind of sophistication or relevance.

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Feb 18 2009 15:26
Vlad336 wrote:
Stirner never called himself an anarchist, so there's no reason to call him one.

That is true, he did not call himself an anarchist. Godwin never called himself one but that did not stop (say) Kropotkin calling him one. And Kropotkin did include Stirner as well, although (rightly) with criticism. I tend to be generous (although some people are not and never will be anarchists, e.g., Rothbard).

Stirner was pretty vocal in his attacks on the state and capitalist property rights so that places him in the anarchist camp, even if his influence in the development of anarchism as a movement and theory was minimal.

Vlad336 wrote:
The Ego and its Own contains plenty of criticism against Proudhon actually, as well as against communists, humanists, etc.

True, and as far as I'm aware Proudhon never responded. Stirner's main criticisms were, first, what was wrong with theft in the first place (so no right-wing "libertarian", Stirner!) and, secondly, he complained that Proudhon (like other socialists) refused to admit that he wanted the property monopolised by the few and instead argued that it belongs to "society" (or "humanity") and such like. He also argued that appeals to "selfishness" rather than self-sacrifice generally work best, which is fine -- that co-operation is in our best interests makes perfect sense to me.

And as for the communists in question, well, they deserved it -- Marx made similar comments on the vulgar communists (his term). Stirner also attacked liberals (socialists he listed as social liberals) and, needless to say, the bourgeoisie. As I said, it is obvious he enjoyed writting his book...

Vlad336 wrote:
He was a bit of an enfant terrible, and although some have argued he was an influence on Nietzsche, he himself never achieved that kind of sophistication or relevance.

Given that Marx and Engels spent a lot of time, and a lot of words, attacking Stirner I think that this summation is wrong. He was an interesting thinker, although his influence on anarchism before the 1890s was null -- and pretty small after that (mostly in American individualist Anarchist circles, and it caused a major split, so helping its decline). In the mainstream of anarchism, Emma Goldman was interested in him. I think the Glasgow anarchist tradition (which fused Stirner with Kropotkin) was of most interest. As I mentioned, they (we?) took Stirner's "Union of Egoists" literally and argued for "One Big Union" (of Egoists!).

Stirner is a fun writer, who makes lots of interesting points along the way. He has something to offer, but nowhere near as much as a Malatesta, Kropotkin or Bakunin.

dave c
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Feb 18 2009 18:17

Could someone tell me where Marx criticizes Stirner in The Holy Family?

Dave B
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Feb 18 2009 18:59

As I remember it, Proudhon couldn’t read German, there was nothing wrong with that and he was remarkable for being one of the few ‘communist theoreticians’ who didn’t come from the ‘bourgeois intelligentsia’. Hence he had to get a lot of the German stuff second hand when it hadn’t been translated into French.

I think this pissing match between Marxists and Anarchists, particularly concerning events pre 1850 is just daft.

At that time Marx, Engels, Bakunin, Proudhon and Stirner were all moving in the same circles and to a certain extent bouncing ideas off each other in the process of developing them.

Proudhon’s ‘What is Property’, 1840 and his ‘Philosophy of Misery’ in 1846 was obviously influential on Marx and he was well ahead of Marx at that stage. Although Engels already had a pretty good understanding of the economics that was to develop into surplus value and the labour theory of value before he even met Marx.

Despite a lot of ‘eccentric’ ideas eg his attitude to women, Proudhon was a clever bod as well. With these kinds of things there is too much ‘throwing the baby out with the bath water’ rather than just taking out what was good and discarding the rest and seeing it as part of a progression of ideas.

I got the impression that both Karl and Fred had a great deal of respect for the intellect of Stirner, possibly more so in fact than for anyone else.

Stirner and Nietzsche were big softies in my opinion, and I can’t believe the crypto fascist ideology that has been attributed to them

A lot of what went on in the polemics looks I think from the outside like an intellectual pissing match. But that misses the philosophical approach that was current at the time as regards to the value or importance of intellectual pissing matches, which springs from Hegel.

The idea revolved around the notion of ‘criticism’, so you have a remorseless intellectual boxing match with the gloves off, with one persons truth in a fight to the death with someone else’s in order to progress, on a survival of the fittest principle or truth , to greater truths.

It can be difficult to prevent that sliding into the personal, a clash of intellectual ego’s and loyally backing your own traditional football team, but theoretically that should not be the point.

It is part I think of the original dialectic of the Socrates approach.

Picking your idols, be it Marx or Bakunin, and defending them come what may is, well, idolatry.

On the other point;

The logic or the only rational basis for activity being based on the ego or selfishness as a premise, was the bugbear of communism and/or Anarchism.

There was no rational or materialistic basis for altruism, compassion and empathy etc. That materialistic basis had to wait for the post or neo Darwinian ‘social instinct’ theory.

Something that previously Feuerbach, and actually later Proudhon intuitively suspected existed.

Also an idea that is firming up with recent research over the last 30 years or so, although Kropotkin and Pannekoek laid the theoretical groundwork some time ago.

Although I have to say that most of my party are blank slaters, and I am not and have more sympathy with the Arabian Babblers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabian_Babbler

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Feb 18 2009 22:38

Stirner's influence on the anarchist movement is being somewhat underestimated here by some, at least in the UK. Glasgow appears to have had, until the end of WWII, the largest working class anarchist movement in the UK, with a considerable influence in factories via anarchist shop stewards. Meetings and public speaking were a weekly occurrence; "Over any single weekend there must have been a few thousand people attending Anarchist meetings." (obviously the vast majority not as anarchists). The Glasgow movement - with the exception of Guy Aldred's small group, which was anti-parliamentarist-communist - was a mix of Stirnerite Egoism and Syndicalism;

Quote:
In a certain sense the Glasgow Anarchists of that period made a unique contribution to the broad Anarchist movement in Britain. Most of the comrades could accept the philosophy of Egoism and dovetail it into the Syndicalist tendency within the movement. For my part I was quite strong about this fusion. In fact I think I was a firmer adherent of this school than was Eddie Shaw although, as I say, initially Eddie was the teacher and I was the pupil. Many were admirers of Kropotkin as I was. Kropotkin did of course criticise the philosophy of Egoism. In spite of this, I do not think Kropotkin's `Mutual Aid' really contradicts Stirner's argument. It is at least obvious to me that those who practice mutual aid are in fact the best egoists. This view is not a reconciliation; it is a fusion. Kropotkin is not I, and I am not Kropotkin. Stirner is not I nor am I Stirner. Both are dead: I subdue their arguments if they want to argue. I dominate my thought: I am not its slave. I am neither a Kropotkinite nor a Stirnerite nor any other 'ite' or 'ist'. This, in the main, was the healthy attitude of most of the Glasgow Anarchists of the period.
http://libcom.org/history/not-life-story-just-leaf-it-robert-lynn

Ret Marut, later to become B. Traven the anarchist novelist, was also in his youth a Stirnerite Individualist anarchist, publishing an anti-capitalist egoist paper for some years - but he wasn't so individualist as to stop him taking part in the Munich Soviet Republic of 1919. Another participant, Gustav Landauer - murdered in the state repression of the Republic - was also apparently influenced by Stirner.

mikus
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Feb 19 2009 05:22
dave c wrote:
Could someone tell me where Marx criticizes Stirner in The Holy Family?

The million dollar question!

Zazaban
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Feb 19 2009 08:35

I myself am a big egoist anarcho-syndicalist type. We should make a facebook group or something. surprised

Anarcho
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Feb 20 2009 08:57
dave c wrote:
Could someone tell me where Marx criticizes Stirner in The Holy Family?

Trick question! Nowhere -- it was in The German Ideology! My mistake -- not sure why I wrote The Holy Family, particularly as I know that it was in The German Ideology! Not enough coffee, I guess....

Still, other than getting the book title wrong my points are all valid smile

Oh, and thanks to the person who linked to the Bobby Lynn article.

Dave B
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Feb 20 2009 14:13

First of all I would like to admit that I do not consider myself an expert on Stirner or the Stirner- Marx debate and therefore invite criticism.

I actually think that Stirner didn’t ‘believe’ in what he wrote, even if that would miss the whole point or argument which was about belief or faith based systems or emotional reactions governing or influencing behaviour that should be based only on rational egoism.

I believe that Stirner’s book was in fact at least in part an attack on Marx who was at that time a Feuerbachian.

Eg;

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/letters/44_08_11.htm

At the risk of over simplifying things Feuerbach’s ideas weren’t that much different to the ‘flower power’ movement of the 1970’s. Where the general notion was that everyone should just go out and love each other mixed in with a bit of pragmatic radical political action and analysis which would solve the problem.

Feuerbach believed that the essence of Christianity eg the good stuff about sharing stuff, looking after each other and the

Acts 2:44-45 (New International Version)

Quote:
44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.

Was the expression of aspects of social feelings that were innate, or human nature if you like. As these social feelings could not be fully expressed in reality due to capitalism or whatever. They had to be lived out in a fantasy, which was what religion was. Ignoring the further distortions and perversions that the ruling class made of it in the ‘organised religions’ that were under the control of the ruling class etc.

These alleged social feeling of wanting to be good to others were ‘projected’ onto your ‘God’. Depending on what kind of God you believed in, the idea being that the personality of the God you believed in or the one you choose was a reflection of your own innate value systems and personality if you like.

(Not omitting that your personality could be influenced by cultural or material conditions and that could be mixed in with it as well.)

Whether you believe in post Freudian psychoanalysis or not, this is an observed phenomena and is called ‘projection’, which was what Feuerbach called it, before psychoanalysis.

Whether or not these repressed aspirations that could reappear in a different form eg Christianity, were innate or just ‘political’ was part of the human nature argument. So the argument actually persisted in a more materialistic form. eg

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1894/early-christianity/index.htm

Stirner I think responded to this Feuerbachism , attacking Marx, by taking a diametrically opposite view against any kind of emotive reasons affecting thinking or behaviour other than a materialistic pure egoism as the only rational basis for behaviour.

It worked in the sense that Marx did drop the ‘why can’t we all just love each other kind of thing’, although that persisted in the True Socialist movement that was appealing to the capitalist classes better side, that Marx went onto attack.

This was all pre Darwinian, when there was no materialistic basis or rational explanation for innate altruistic behaviour.

That was contested later in;

http://www.marxists.org/archive/pannekoe/1912/marxism-darwinism.htm

Stirner took his objection to any emotive prohibition against behaviour, or taboo’s, to the extreme and all the way to incest;

Quote:
Take notice how a “moral man” behaves, who today often thinks he is through with God and throws of Christianity as a bygone thing. If you ask him whether he has ever doubted that the copulation of brother and sister is incest, that monogamy is the truth of marriage, that filial piety is a sacred duty, then a moral shudder will come over him at the conception of one’s being allowed to touch is sister as wife also. An whence this shudder? Because he believes in those moral commandments. This moral faith is deeply rooted in his breast. Much as he rages against the pious Christians, he himself has nevertheless as thoroughly remained a Christian—to wit, a moral Christian. In the form of morality Christianity holds him a prisoner, and a prisoner under faith.

Monogamy is something sacred, and he who may live in bigamy is punished as a criminal; he who commits incest suffers as a criminal. Those who are always crying that religion is not to be regarded in the State, and the Jew is to be a citizen equally with the Christian, show themselves in accord with this. Is not this of incest and monogamy a dogma of faith? … Moral faith is as fanatical as religious faith! They call that “liberty of faith” then, when brother and sister, on account of a relation that they have settled with their “conscience,” are thrown into prison. “But they set a pernicious example.” Yes indeed: others might have taken the notion that the State had no business to meddle with their relation, and thereupon “purity of morals” would go to ruin. So then the religious heroes of faith are zealots for the “sacred God,” the moral ones for the “sacred good”

Max Stirner, The Ego and His Own: The Case of the Individual Against Authority, trans. Steven T. Byington. New York: Dover Publications, 2005, pp45-6

Of course sensational ‘enfant terrible’ stuff like that could sell books then,as Proudhon learnt, but he was serious I think.

Although Stirners argument was a serious intellectual challenge I am not sure Karl believed he was completely sincere either, although that was probably irrelevant.

Sancho Panza, played along with the deranged delusions of someone else whilst not believing in it, just for the interest, adventure and fun of it.

Anarcho
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Feb 20 2009 14:39

And I should note I was seriously disappointed by Pannekoek's Marxism And Darwinism pamphlet. I thought it did not really say much, beyond the clear fact that Darwinism was twisted to justify capitalism. This is true, though:

Quote:
The struggle for existence is the main power that causes the origin of new species, but Darwin himself knew full well that other powers co-operate which give shape to the forms, habits, and peculiarities of animate things . . . .Many illustrations on this head are also to be found in Kropotkin’s book, “Mutual Aid as a Factor in Evolution.”

Kropotkin explicitly pointed to darwin, specifically the “Descent of Man” to prove his "darwinist" credentials (so to speak). Interestingly, it took mainstream biology nearly 70 decades to independently discover Kropotkin's argument, in the form of "reciprocal altruism" -- somewhat amazingly, even after two decades of people mentioning Kropotkin to him, Trivers had still not read him:

Quote:
Trivers did not mention Kropotkin, but he later recounted that he learned from exchanges with Soviet bloc scientists that “in their literature, Peter Kropotkin was an early pioneer whom they would have expected me to cite.” However, he seemed to have developed his theory independently for, in a 1992 interview, he mentioned that people “keep asking about Kropotkin. You know, I have never read the anthropologists who write about reciprocity, and I never read Kropotkin.” He also notes that a “very agreeable feature of my reciprocal altruism, which I had not anticipated in advance, was that a sense of justice or fairness seemed a natural consequence of selection for reciprocal altruism. That is, you could easily imagine that sense of fairness would evolve as a way of regulating reciprocal tendencies.” If Trivers had consulted Kropotkin, he would have discovered that his unanticipated feature had been discussed in Mutual Aid decades previously.

Only de Waal seems to stress the obvious links between Kropotkin's ideas and Trivers. A close reading of Mutual Aid shows the same mechanisms at work, namely that social creatures develop tactics to deal with anti-social members of the tribe.

Dave B wrote:
Although Stirners argument was a serious intellectual challenge I am not sure Karl believed he was completely sincere either, although that was probably irrelevant.

probably irrelevant, particularly as he found Stirner worthy of diatribing against at great length. Still, it is interesting that Marxism was more influenced by Stirner than Anarchism...

Anarcho
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Feb 20 2009 14:40
Jack wrote:
Marx wrote:
Saint Max who, like all saints, loves miracles, but can only perform a logical miracle, is annoyed because he cannot make the sun dance the cancan, he grieves because he cannot still the ocean, he is indignant because he must allow the mountains to tower to the sky.

Just in pure literary terms, my favourite piece of polemic ever.

Except, of course, it really has little to do with what Stirner was actually arguing...

Anarcho
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Feb 20 2009 15:02
Jack wrote:
Eh, i think even a cursory reading of the section in question of both the German Ideology and Stirner would say otherwise.

I think even a cursory reading of Stirner shows that Marx is quoting out of context to make Stirner look a fool...

I prefer Engels:

Quote:
And it is certainly true that we must first make a cause our own, egoistic cause, before we can do anything to further it – and hence that in this sense, irrespective of any eventual material aspirations, we are communists out of egoism also, and it is out of egoism that we wish to be human beings, not mere individuals.

Although, he has it the wrong way round -- we are communists because we wish to be individuals, not mere human beings (or "Man").

Black Badger
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Feb 20 2009 19:07

Despite enjoying Stirner a great deal, I would also be reluctant to label him an anarchist. However, I think that just because he never called himself one is beside the point -- as well as being unfair. Proudhon was the first one to do so seriously, and it has been established that Stirner didn't like P.J. and there weren't too many Proudhonists at the time Stirner wrote his magnum opus.

My reluctance has more to do with the understanding that Stirner would have found late-19th/early 20th century anarchists as spook-filled as any of the other people for whom he had contempt. In other words, he would have ridiculed them as having wheels in their (our) heads. Anarchists (for the most part) pride themselves on being radical free thinkers, but they are just as prone to stupid prejudices as anyone else.

Boris Badenov
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Feb 20 2009 23:45
Anarcho wrote:
Although, he has it the wrong way round -- we are communists because we wish to be individuals, not mere human beings (or "Man").

There is little value to being an individual, if you are dehumanized by self-alienation. Engels most certainly has it right, imo.

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waslax
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Feb 21 2009 08:22
dave c wrote:
Could someone tell me where Marx criticizes Stirner in The Holy Family?

Yes, a good question. I also must have confused The German Ideology and The Holy Family. It is also the word "Holy" which Marx employs countless times in his critique of Stirner in the GI, which must have confused me. And I do freely admit that I've never read the Holy Family.

Dave B
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Feb 21 2009 13:47

I think it was an easy mistake to make and we should forgive that kind of thing.

I couldn’t remember Stirner in the Holy Family.

However if I had gone off and read the bloody thing again I would have demanded a full and unreserved apology.

It’s not like the bare-faced lying that is going on at Revleft at the moment, under History and Theory.

Given that Stirner provoked Karl and Fred into writing an unpublished magnus opus of their own, Fred was capable of a bit of disingenuousness himself.

Quote:
“Bauer only achieved something in the field of the history of the origin of Christianity, though what he did here was important. Stirner remained a curiosity, even after Bakunin blended him with Proudhon and labelled the blend ‘anarchism’.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1886/ludwig-feuerbach/ch04.htm

Frederick Engels, “Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy” is probably worth a bit of a dense read I think for people who are interested in this kind of shit.

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Feb 27 2009 00:26

http://libcom.org/history/stirner-feurbach-marx-young-hegelians-david-mclellan

Anarcho
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Joined: 22-10-06
Mar 2 2009 15:51
Vlad336 wrote:
Anarcho wrote:
Although, he has it the wrong way round -- we are communists because we wish to be individuals, not mere human beings (or "Man").

There is little value to being an individual, if you are dehumanized by self-alienation. Engels most certainly has it right, imo.

So our aim is not to be unique individuals but merely "human beings"? Engels most certainly had it wrong, imo. What is the point of being an individual if it is just a case of being "dehumanised by self-alienation"? Seems to me we can do better than merely being the atomised bourgeois "egotist" and the self-sacrificing "human being"....

Oh, and good review of Stirner here by a communist-anarchist associated with Emma Goldman: Stirner: "The Ego and His Own", by Max Baginski